By Amakye Ansah
#17. Mauritania 🇲🇷
Nickname: Lions of Chinguetti
Last Appearance: 2019
Coach: Didier Gomes Da Rosa (France)
Best AFCON Results: Group Stage (2019)
Skipper: Abdoul Ba
Player to watch: Aboubakar Kamara
CAF Rankings: 23
FIFA Rankings: 103
Qualified for their first-ever AFCON in 2019. Mauritania lost their first game 4-1 against Mali and impressively drew goalless in the last 2 games against Angola and Tunisia in Egypt. It was a beautiful story for Lions of Chinguetti in Egypt.
They were very poor in Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers: (2D,4L). Their performance in the FIFA Arab cup was nothing to write home about too. Lions of Chinguetti won only against Syria (2-1), lost heavily to Tunisia (5-1) and also lost narrowly (1-0) to Unite Arab Emirates.
Recent results suggest French tactician Didier Gomes Da Rosa has a huge task at hand. The former Horoya, Simba, Ismaily and Coton Sport manager has vast experience on the continent. He took over in just November. He has not gotten much time to prepare the team for the tournament.
His 28-man squad includes AS Douanes’ 16-year-old midfielder Beyatt Lekweiry, Pape Ibnou Ba of Le Havre in French Ligue 2 and Souleymane Karamoko also of Nancy in French Ligue 2. Aboubakar Kamara, Oumar Camara and Abdoul Ba are all part of the team.
In a group with Tunisia: familiar foes, Mali and The Gambia, Lions of Chinguetti must punch above their weight to repeat Egypt 2019 spirited performance.
The core of the team
FC Nouadibhou goalkeeper Babacar Diop will be picked ahead of N’Diaye and El Moktar.
Al-Ahly Tripoli defender Abdou Ba and unattached Harouna Abou Demba will be tasked to protect the back.
Mohamed Yalli Delahi and Adama Ba will provide the attack the needed supplies.
Aris forward Aboubakar Kamara, Pape Ibnou Ba of Le Havre and Beroe Stara Zagora’s Oumar Camara are the forwards Didier Gomes Da Rosa will rely on.
Babacar Diop (GK)
Aly Abeid, Abdou Ba, Abou Demba,
Moussa N’Diaye (DF)
Yalli Delahi, Oumar Camara, Adama Ba, Mahmoud Abdullahi (AM)
Aboubakar Kamara (ST)
Expectations: Group Stage ex